Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 28 January 1972, London) Composer, cellist and kora player; son of the Nigerian sculptor Emmanuel Taiwo Jegede and the British artist Galina Chester. Among his earliest memories was hearing his grandfather playing Bach well into the night. He was introduced to the kora at age seven by the Senegalese musician Bouly Cissokho, and studied in the Gambia from '82 with Amadu Bansang Jobarteh, meanwhile also studying the cello at the Purcell School, London and at the Guildhall (with Raphael Wallfisch) and with Elma de Bruyne (a former pupil of Pablo Casals). Several of his compositions combine Western structural and harmonic devices with an element of 'spontaneous composition' derived from his African studies. His albums Lamentation and Malian Royal Court Music '95 on Triciom both include traditional African works, Jegede's compositions and some by his half-sister Maya Jobarteh (b 1983), who also plays both kora and cello; the former also includes members of the London Sinfonietta. Both were co-produced by Jegede and Paul Balmer. Jegede also featured in the BBC2 TV documentary Africa I Remember and the BBC radio series Music For The Lion King in '95, both directed by Balmer for Music On Earth Productions; the TV show included 'Cycle Of Reckoning', for kora and chamber orchestra, from the second album. Malian Court Music was repackaged with two new tracks as Still Moments 2007, and also in that year came a new album, Nomad.
There have been collaborations with Nana Vasconcelos, Bheki Mseleku, vibist Orphy Robinson (b 1960, London; album Anavas '91 on EMI), Trilok Gurtu (Living Magic '91) and many others. As well as having his music performed by several UK symphony orchestras, he was asked to compose a percussion concerto for Evelyn Glennie. Jegede appeared with the Kronos Quartet at the Barbican '94, and his second string quartet was recorded by the Brodsky Quartet for a 3-CD set which included Beethoven's first six quartets (Opus 18) and much else.
There was also dance music, and in the new century a considerable amountl of film work. He composed and performed music for a documentary 500 Years Later (2005; also operated camera and electrical equipment); wrote, produced and composed music for a short film The Idea (2006); wrote and performed several pieces and composed incidental music for a documentary Our Story Our Voice, and played kora in the soundtrack of The Nanny Diaries (2007); and composed music for a documentary Agadez, the Music and the Rebellion (2010). Most recently he received a credit for music in a film by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar.